Cafe Sevilla: A Taste of Romance
2010-08-16 · By Chandra Clewley
Looking for something a little different and being curious about Pine Ave, we decided to head over for tapas during sunset. Pine Ave is a mixed bag as far as reviews go, some people you ask will still refer to it as a street with too many college kids and bars, some will say it is too close to the seedier parts of Long Beach, while others say it is up and coming. Café Sevilla seemed like a great place, centrally located, for us to experience Pine Avenue and enjoy some Spanish food.
On our way over, we were struck immediately by the high cost of parking in the area. How disappointing that with the empty streets and parking lots, parking would be almost $8 if we stayed longer than an hour! The lot right next door to Café Sevilla has these rates advertised, while the lot itself was about 1/3 full. A tad bit annoyed, I decided to try the city lot around the corner, and was pleasantly relieved when the gentleman working in the booth told me that if I had my ticket validated by a restaurant, the first 2 hours would be free! This wasn’t publicized anywhere, so if this man had not told us, we would have never known or thought to ask! Come on Downtown Long Beach, get it together!
Café Sevilla was quiet when we arrived, as was the entire street. I thought it kind of odd, for a place that seemed like it should be so lively! Perhaps we hit it at an odd time? It was about 6 p.m. on Thursday night. The front patio was set up cute, the hostess was so welcoming, and the waitress was an absolute breath of fresh air. She knew everything about the menu, including the Happy Hour menu which looked tempting, and was happy to instruct us on what some of the most popular dishes were.
We decided to order the Dates Stuffed with Cabrales Bleu Cheese, Shrimp Ajillo, Cheese Empanada with Chorizo, Beef Empanada, Cheese Fundido, and the Lobster Tail that was off menu. All of the food was exceptionally prepared, the dates were amazing, with that just right sweet to salty ratio, the shrimp was incredible, and the cheese empanada with chorizo was bursting with flavor. The ambience was great too, even though Pine Avenue happened to be quiet, the restaurants décor is a ton of fun, and it would be an awesome place to bring a date and sip Tempranillo while slowly eating European style, over the course of a few hours (if it wasn’t for that pesky parking fee, perhaps people would sit outside and slowly enjoy for a bit longer?) There was also a flyer stating that Café Sevilla has Flamenco on certain nights. I am a huge Flamenco fan, the music and the dance, as it is so Spanish, so soulful and so reminiscent of the days of bullfighting and romantic love. I would especially come back to enjoy that!
There were a few misses though. First of all, the Queso Fundido comes with 2 tiny pieces of bread for a whole lot of cheese….I just couldn’t get past the fact that I was expected to just eat spoonfuls of melted cheese unless I wanted to order an entire loaf of bread? Seems like a cheap and easy fix that Café Sevilla should consider: Make extra bread gratis with an order of Queso Fundido. We certainly didn’t want an entire loaf for two people. Secondly, I found the prices a bit off putting. I am a fan of tapas restaurants, and I eat in them when I am able, since they are so fun, but the pricing for the quantity at Café Sevilla was steep. Compared to Primitivo in Venice Beach, Cobras & Matadors in Los Angeles, and Mediterraneo in Hermosa Beach, Café Sevilla is by far the most expensive and for two of us, with Happy Hour deductions and a pregnant lady that was only drinking diet coke, the bill was almost $100. And that was without the loaf of bread that we would have had to pay for.
The service more than made up for this though, our wait staff was so knowledgeable, so pleasing, and so welcoming. The environment was so ambient. Café Sevilla is definitely a place where I would bring a date, or come for a special occasion, but for day to day, it’s probably a little too pricey for the locals.
Café Sevilla is located at 140 Pine Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90802 and you can reach them by phone at (562) 495-1111. Website